Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Cassie died. Alone. After calling Lia thirty-three times. After Lia refused to answer thirty-three times. She died in a motel room. The papers hint at a drug overdose, but no one has a definitive answer. Lia lies to herself. She's fine. Not broken and sad and stuck like everyone thinks she is or thinks she should be. She lies to the scale, with her belly full of water and quarters in her pockets. The scale lies to her stepmother. 107.00, it says. No reason to worry. Lia's getting better. Don't send her back to that hell, New Seasons, where they stuffed her full of butter. Empty is strong. Why can't she just eat like everyone else? Empty is strong. Just one cupcake would be heaven. Empty is strong. But one cupcake would turn into two and three and four, until she got back to where she started. Empty is strong. Fatuglystupid, must not eat. Empty is strong. Cassie understood.

This book... this is what I was looking for. Something different and engaging and chilling and wonderful. The writing style was beautiful, to say the least, and made the book memorable. This is definitely not one of those books that you forget a week after you've read it. The fact that it was a gorgeously written novel made it seem absolutely creepy. I say creepy in the best way possible here. It just reached right down into me and made me care. I wanted to yell at Lia and make her eat something. I wanted to scream at her mother and father, for just letting her slip away. Most of all, I wanted to give Emma a hug.

6.5 out of 7 pomegranate seeds (ohhhhh... just got the Persephone reference) for Wintergirls.

Wishing the sun would come out,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Some are Graced with dancing, some with weaving, some with story-telling. Not Katsa. Katsa possesses the despicable Grace of killing. To her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, she is a mere tool. The perfect assassin, who can not only kill quickly and quietly but one that can also be paraded in front of his rivals at dinner. Intimidating even in silks and jewels. Not one (or even ten together) of his elite guards can best her in a fight. The only person who comes close to matching her skills is a visiting Lienid prince, Graced with fighting. Po seems to know what she is going to do before she even makes a move. Training with Katsa provides Po with the perfect excuse to stay in the Middluns while he searches for the person who kidnapped his grandfather. And that's how it begins. Katsa's life changes in ways she never expected as she accompanies Po on a journey to investigate this mysterious occurrence.

Katsa's struggle with humanity, trying to prove that she isn't just a monstrous killer, was excellent. The characters were three-dimensional and intriguing. The world that Cashore created had the flavor of other fantasy realms that I've encountered, but was different enough to distinguish itself from the I've-read-this-before abyss that many novels are falling into these days. My only qualm concerning this book was that it was the tiniest bit predictable. Only in a few instances, though. Overall, I liked it very much. I'd like to bestow 6 out of 7 oddly-colored eyes upon Graceling and add that I am looking forward to Kristin Cashore's future exploits in the YA realm.

In need of something chocolate and delicious,

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wake by Lisa McMann

Janie, like most 17 year-olds, finds high-school a very hellish place. Unlike most 17 year-olds, she wishes that everyone would just be awake while they're there. I mean, really. All of the dozing students may be just another part of the background for you, but for Janie they're like little whirlpools, devouring her and throwing her into naked-during-the-big-history-presentation nightmares or falling-but-never-hitting-the-ground dreams or sex-with-the-hottest-girl-in-school fantasies.

Needless to say, it's all getting a little old. And inconvenient to say the least. Having to be ultra careful of the streets she drives on (ever since she almost totaled her car for the second time when she was caught in a nightmare) and sleepovers...hah. She tried that once, and after a peek into her friends' disturbing nighttime adventures, she's not thrilled about trying it again. Something she is thrilled about? Her former-druggie neighbor's transformation. It's shocking enough that everyone at school thinks he's a new student. But he's just the same old Cabel...isn't he? His dreams say otherwise...

Wake was... alright....I just could not identify with Janie at all. I mean, her situation is difficult, but the way she lets her mom treat her is just... *throws hands in the air* ugh. And the fact that she is able to hide this dream thing for so long (and that she chooses to tell no one) and thinks that she's the only one to ever have to deal with something like this... The whole Miss Stubin thing really reminded me of what's-her-name in the third Midnighters book.

4.5 out of 7 snickers bars for Wake. And for those who are interested in the sequel, Fade has been released now, too.


P.S. Speaking of dreams, I just finished Volume One of The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. Absolutely reeking of awesome! It's one of those "How have I not read this before?" moments.